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December 11, 2009


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Account Deleted

Well I was talking primarily about the action sequences Bill but point taken! ;)

Tom Carson

And just for the hell of it, can I put in a lonely good word for Billy Zane in Titanic? He's the only one who's in period, for crissakes. It's because nobody else is that he looks eccentric.


Tom, you know what I think of TITANIC, but I can see where you're coming from. I'd sooner take down Kathy Bates in that film than Zane. Personally, I'd rather put in a lonely good word for Victor Garber, because he's the only one who actually think is good in the film.

Tom Carson

I forgot Victor Garber, but you're right that he too at least makes you half believe he's living in 1912. So does Eric Braeden, still most beloved by me under his birth name of Hans Gudegast in "The Rat Patrol."


Oh yeah, he was good, too. As was, if memory serves, Bernard Hill. I always like Bernard Hill. So I guess really some of the periphery actors were pretty good, but the closer you move to the core, the more your teeth begin to grind.

The Siren

@Glenn: Crass could be applicable to certain aspects of Titanic, where Cameron's anger over the relation between ticket price and survival rate led to his disinclination even to grant the plutocrats dignified deaths (which they did have in real life, as much as anyone could on a sinking ship).

However, of the major movies about that disaster (and TV series and oblique take-offs like History Is Made at Night), Cameron was the one who really went after the big moral questions about the survivors, even if he did with a cudgel and not a scalpel.

And it sounds to me (as someone who hasn't seen the movie, but now wants to, much to her own astonishment) that here we have Cameron going after our comfortable notions of good-guy-dom. For myself, if he's really trying to get us to take a hard look at our more controversial military forays and the civilian death tolls they've racked up, I say more power to him. It doesn't sound subtle, but broad isn't necessarily bad. As Flannery O'Connor said, when you're talking to the deaf you have to shout.

Tom Carson

Siren, it feels like lese-majeste to dispute you. But remember that Cameron has his own "comfortable notion of good-guy-dom" himself. I hate the Iraq war and did from the start, but which brush you use to blacken it matters all the same.


Heck no, Tom. Say whatever you want, no matter how vile, as long as it's in support of my politics. Don't you know that's how it works these days.

The Bloofer Lady

I zoned out trying to read through all the comments midway through the second page. So at the risk of bringing up a film that might've been mentioned already...well, ask me if I give a fuck.


War of the Worlds.

Spielberg already did the occupation analogy 4 years ago, and he probably did it in a more complex manner, too.


The Siren

Tom, point taken about Cameron. Can't tell whether or not I will approve of his tools until I have seen the film. When I was re-examining Titanic last year I found all sorts of things going on in that movie that I hadn't noticed in the theater. You can't call him subtle, exactly, but he packs a lot of things into his big, baggy monster-size movies and they aren't always apparent when you're swept up in the moment.

As for Bill, right now I am about as offended as I can ever recall being in the blogosphere. Nothing I have ever said, in this thread or indeed anywhere else, deserved that insult.

Tom Carson

Siren, I honestly don't believe Bill was attacking you. I thought he was just mocking the extremes of what passes for political discourse these days, even though I did blink myself before coming to that conclusion. But anytime you want to compare notes on the semiotics of TITANIC, I'm game. I've watched it with fascination more times than I should probably admit in this forum.


@Siren - but "when you talk to the deaf you have to shout" is cool? Look, I wasn't calling you vile, and I honestly apologize if that's how it came across. I consider this film's apparent construction of its allegory vile, and I'm disturbed by the pass some are giving it because it roughly conforms to their worldview. I wasn't calling you or anyone else here vile.

Tom Carson

So much for my brief (and, I hope, charmingly atypical) try at mimicking Kofi Annan. On second thought, maybe I'll just let you two thrash it out.


No, Tom, your description of what I was going for was correct. My own response could have been warmer, but I was a bit taken aback by The Siren's reply, and the comment I made that set this off came from being rankled by O'Conner quote in the first place.

Forget it. I'm going to bed.

Dylan P.

... One could also debate the ethics, or non-ethics, of spending over 200 million dollars making a film embedded with (fine, interesting, "problematic") points about oppression and domination and imperialism, when those real-life people who are themselves the receivers of such imperialism could probably use some of that money to run their countries and get out from under the thumb of global debt.

Just a thought.

The Siren

Bill, please look at the name that begins my comment. Is it yours? I hope that Glenn understood, as you evidently did not, that the Flannery O'Connor remark (which she made about Catholic themes in her work) concerns the way loud, obvious allegory may suit an artist's aims. I offered the quote by way of furthering the discussion with GLENN about what might have to be done in order to get a point across to the mass audience for Avatar. In other words, Bill, it had fuck all to do with you, especially since you removed yourself from the putative audience for Avatar way back in the thread.

No, you weren't calling me vile, just my politics, or your caricature of them at any rate. Your every comment here is predicated on two notions: that you have moral scruples above and beyond those of Glenn's other readers, and that you alone must endure the slings and arrows of outrageous blog rhetoric. It is bad enough having to preface posts that are actually addressed to you with little pats to your ever-ruffled feathers, as I have in the past. I will be damned if I will do it even when I'm trying to engage our host.


Siren, if you read MY comment again, you'll note (or you should, at any rate) that I don't specify anyone's politics. I say that's how it works these days. If you find your politics in that comment, great, because I see mine, too.

Christ almighty. So you spend a lot of time smoothing my ruffled feathers, do you? That, I must say, is really fucking rich. Have a great day, why don't you.


Smurfs remain my favorite blue people.


I have the feeling, honestly, that this'll be a hit in spite of itself. What I've been hearing, consistently, is that the first two hours consist of Cameron telling you about the setting he's DMing and then an amazing battle sequence.

Also, I don't really see Kirby or Steranko in this. If anything I'm getting a bit of a Frazetta feeling. Or maybe Kubert with more light.

Dan Coyle

"That Blue Man Group, they're nothing more than a ripoff of the Smurfs. And don't get me started on the SMURFS. THEY SUCK!"-- Homer Simpson

Tom Russell

"What I've been hearing, consistently, is that the first two hours consist of Cameron telling you about the setting he's DMing and then an amazing battle sequence."

My new goal in life is to somehow play D & D with James Cameron. Though I have a feeling-- purely on the director's reputation as being somewhat autocratic-- that he'd be one of those DMs who doesn't take kindly to sidestepped traps and deviations from his storyline. Still, the saving throws would be *intense*.

Account Deleted

On a lighter note - 2 sleeps to go :)

Stetson Kennedy

I don't think "boycott" means what you think it means.

Rob Carver

Nothing new - the sledgehammer approach was already used in the book "War is a Racket" from 1935, by Major General Smedley Butler, Ret., CMOH x 2 rcpt., who had been on the pointy end of it and plainly stated about the venality of it all, which this film seems to be saying with many esplozhuns and FX, but less truth. I'll see it just for overkill.

Pete Apruzzese

Not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainly is a technical marvel. Looked good in phony-Imax digital 3-D.

Tom Russell

My wife and I both loved it, and it's been added to my own Best Of the Decade list. A few thoughts on the film, including both the Kirby overtones Glenn mentioned and the allegorical thread that's caused quite a stir here, are humbly offered for the approval of the Midnight Society:


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